Asante-Mampɔn (anglicised as Ashanti-Mampong) is an agroforestry Asante-Twi speaking Akan people of Biretuo-Tena clan origins found in the Mampong Municipal of Ashanti Region. Mampong serves as the administrative capital of Mampong Municipal and also the centre of the new Anglican Diocese of Asante Mampong. The major towns within the Mampong Municipality are Mampong, Krobo, Dadease, Asaam, Kofiase, Adidwan, and Apaah.
Traditionally, Mampong State is the second most important traditional area after Kumasi. The paramount Chief of Mampong comes second after the Asantehene. Whilst the King of the Asante residing at Manhyia in Kumasi sits on the Sikadwa Kofi “Golden Stool”, the Mamponghene sits on the Silver Stool. The Silver Stool was given to Mampong by the Asantehene as a reward for services rendered to the Asante Nation by Nana Boahen Anantuo with the injunction Me so tiri, wo so nya “I hold the head, you also hold the feet.” Thus, the Asante nation is perceived as a load or a person. The neck is held by the Kumasehene who doubles as the Asantehene, whilst the feet are held by Mamponghene. The Mampong Silver stool was rewarded to Nana Boahen Anantuo but it was first sat on by Nana Akuamoah Panin who succeeded Nana Boahen Anantuo.
Mampong is a contraction of ɔman ‘State’ or ‘Nation’ and pɔn ‘great’ or ‘mighty’; hence Mampong means ‘Great State’ or ‘Mighty Nation.’ The appellation of the Asante-Mampong State is Mampɔn Kontonkyi, Ɔboɔ – a – ɛhi – akuma. Mamponfoɔ se ‘Yɛnnɔ, ntoaso mprenu’. Ese Kwananofo “Mampong the Curved Stick, the Mighty Stone that wears off the felling axe. The Mampong people say, ‘We do not cultivate twice in the same spot’. The guards of the North”.
Mampong’s ancestors were of both Beretuo and Tena clans, hence some of their Chiefs appear to have belonged to both clans. However, Tena clan was abolished in the Asante by one of the Asantehene’s for the unfaithfulness of one of his wives who was of Tena Clan. In addition. Within the two clans were the various ruling family branches: (a) the Babiru line or Apa; (b) the Wiridu line also known as the Owusu Sekyere line; (c) the Botase line, (d) the Kwadiakurom, which is also said to be another name for the Botase line; and (e) the Siwuiriase line, from which Asafo Yaw belonged. This irregular pattern in Mampong Stool succession brought the sayings: Akuamoa Akonnua die Akwakuo, otwene twene “Akuamoa’s Stool is like the Colobus monkey, it jumps all over the place”, and or Mampɔnfoɔ se ‘Yennɔ ntoaso mprenu’ “The Mampong people say ‘We do not cultivate twice in the same spot’”.
Origin and Migration
The Mampong oral tradition asserts that their ancestors were royal Beretuo and Tena clan members who emerged from the ground or sky. Robert Sutherland Rattray recorded that when the ancestors of Mampong came up from the ground at Adanse Ahensan. The Tena came forth first, followed by a daughter of the Beretuo Queen Mother. An executioner came out next with Kantan “iron necklace” around his neck, upon which everyone shouted, Biribi bɛba nne “Today something is going to happen”. It is said that when the voice came out, the Queen Mother of the Beretuo, who was just about to come forth, immediately returned to the ground and was never seen again. However, the second version of Mampong oral tradition asserts that Nana Asiama Nyankopon Guahyia, the ancestress of the royal Beretuo clan of Mampong came down from the sky by a silver chain known as Atwiaban and landed at Ahensan in Adanse at a spot now marked by the stream Domisa. It is said that before her arrival, a bird called Afwia announced, Ɛnne biribi bɛba kuro yi mu “something strange is about to come to this village today.” After Atwiaban came Kurotwiamansa “Leopard”, and then from the sky came Asiama Guahyia with the Silver Stool, and with her subjects.
In Adanse Ahensan, which is three miles north of Fomena, the present Adanse capital, Asiama Guahyia married Kusahene Nana Obonkyie, and brought forth Kwakye Panin, Baafoɔ Antiedu, and a daughter Agyakoma Difie. Adanse Ahensan experienced rapid population growth, thus Asiama Guahyia asked her firstborn Kwakye Panin to rule over the men whilst she ruled the women. This was quite strange for the people of Ahensan were not of the Beretuo clan, except Asiama Guahyia and her family. When Kwakye Pannin died, he was succeeded by his brother, Baafour Antiedu, but because the village was too small for his people Baafour Antiedu was removed with them to a place called Amoaful Bogyawe, is five miles south of Bekwai and near Asantemanso, the gathering place of the peoples. Here, they met others who speak their mother tongue and joined them to form Amantuo num “the five communities of Ashanti”, who were to become Kumasi. Mampong, Bekwai, Nsuta, and Kumawu. Mampong also met Ampong Agyei Kwafo, the head of the Tena People, who had preceded them from Adanse and who, like Baafoɔ Antiedu’s people, were searching for land to settle on.
Baafoɔ Antiedu and his people moved to Behinase near Bekwai and then because they were hemmed in by others, moved to Kodiekrom near Ejisu and then to Tokwaboho near Effiduase, all between Ahensan and Mampong Akrofoso. Here, they met the Tena people again. From Tokwaboho, the Tena-Biretuo went in one direction to found the Kwahu state, and Ampong Agyei Kwafo became the first chief of Kwahu. But Baafuor Antiedu led his people further north, and they founded the first Akrofoso “on the new town” or the Old Mampong, which is about twenty- two miles north-east of Kumasi, and some forty miles north of Ahensan. Here, Nana Agyakoma Difie, daughter of Asiama Guahyia married Nana Firam of Adanse and brought forth Nana Nyarko Korkor, who also married Nana Bawua Bonsafu of Adanse and brought forth seven daughters, including Nana Frampong Kessie.
Nana Frampong Kesse married Nana Kofi Agyekum Okyere and brought forth two sons; Nana Kofi Agyei aka Nana Atakora Amaniampong, Nana Boahen Anantuo, and a daughter Nana Ogubriapoti. Nana Ogubriapoti married Kokofu Aboosu’s Nana Nyanni Panin and brought forth Kokowa Hyeah who married Boakye Nkum and brought forth Nana Takyiwa Pinaman and Nana Akuamoa Panyin. Nana Amaniampong was born at Kodiekrom and named Kofi Agyei, but because of his swollen belly, he was nicknamed after river Oda Maniampong, which was close to Kodiekrom. Nana Amaniampong succeeded Baafuor Antiedu at Mampong Akrofoso, and he became a very powerful ruler of whom people said Amaniampong a yɛde akoboɔ gye no taataa “Amaniampong, the one who was taught how to walk with a rhythm of a bullet.” During Amaniampong’s tenure, Baa Panin, the Chief of Apa made war against the Bono at Ejura, under their Chief called Kurubu Akuma, and was defeated and killed. Baa’s younger brother appealed to Amaniampong for help, and Amaniampong agreed by defeating the Chief of Ejura who escaped from the battlefield by turning into an Elephant. Amaniampong fearing that the Apa Chief, who was a member of the royal house of Mampong, would seize the land at Ejura, appointed one of his Safohene “War Chief” named Bonsie, to go and live at Ejura.
Amaniampong died after a very successful reign and was succeeded by his brother, Nana Boahen Anantuo, a very powerful warrior. It was in his time that the Asante overthrew Denkyira. The Chief of Juaben brought about the war by refusing the demands of Denkyira for increased tribute. The Denkyira was defeated at Feyiase. During the war, Boahen Anantuo commanded the whole national army, at the express command of the famous Asante priest, Ɔkɔmfo Anokye. He fought gallantly in the war, but he was wounded in the stomach and died later near the granite rock about twelve miles south of Kumasi. Thus, he earned the appellation Boahen Anantuo nkamfoɔ kum no ma yɛ de hye obayifoɔ “Boahen Anantuo, the one who died from the praises of his valour in the battle and his death was blamed on a witch.” Boahen Anantuo was said to have been the first of the Biretuo to occupy the Stool; the three preceding Chiefs are stated to have been descendants of the great ancestress, Asiama Guahyia, who, it is said, was a member of the Biretuo-Tena clan, a moiety of which the other half was the Biretuo.
As a result of the victory at Feyiase, Ɔpemsoɔ Nana Osei Tutu I became the King of the newly formed Asante Kingdom. During this time, Akuamoa Panin succeeded Nana Boahen Anantuo and Osei Tutu acknowledged the services of his predecessor with the injunction: Meso tiri, woso nya, ‘I hold the head, you the feet (of the state)’. At this time Akuamoa Panin and his people were still at Mampong Akrofoso, but they needed more land, for they were still multiplying, so Akuamoa Panin sent his nephew Nana Anyinam, who was also next in succession, to look at the country beyond their towns. He first called at a place known as Botaase, where New Mampong was later built, and there met an aged woman who is said to have had two husbands, Ampofo and Kyeremutwa. She made Nana Anyinam welcome and asked him the purpose of his visit. After he had explained that he was seeking a place for his uncle, Nana Akuamoa Panyin, she told him that he was at Botaase, that she and her two husbands who were on their farms were the only inhabitants, that all the land thereabouts belonged to her, and that her only boundary was with the village of Anyinasu. Nana Anyinam thanked the woman and said that he would spend the night with her so that he might meet her two husbands and have further discussions with them. Upon the arrival of Ampofo and Kyeremutwa he explained the purpose of his visit and on the morrow begged to take his leave for Ejura.
On his way to Ejura, Nana Anyinam arrived at Adudwan, a village near Kraneemu, where he saw a leper named Ampofo. The leper was sitting upon an animal skin known as Banwuma – a skin that is said to be used by an Asantehene as powerful protection against evil spirits. Nana Anyinam greeted Ampofo, but did not shake hands with him because of leprosy, saying Monfa fedie qdwa Ampofo ‘it would be imprudent to shake hands even with Ampofo’. The leper received Nana Anyinam hospitably, related to him the significance and history of the skin on which he was sitting, and directed him on his way to Ejura. At Ejura, Nana Anyinam met the chief, Kurubu Akuma, who asked him the purpose of his visit. Nana Anyinam prevaricated and said that he was just on a short visit. He was then directed to Attebubu, and there he met the chief, Gyengyenrurudu, who received him well and directed him still farther to Yeji. The river at Yeji, which we now call the Volta, was difficult to cross, but while standing on the bank Nana Anyinam saw some monkeys cross, using weeds and pieces of a stick as paddles. Nana Anyinam instructed his followers to make canoes from the Itch tree, and in this way, the river was crossed. He then reached Salaga and Goma Saabia Nkwanta, and finally arrived in Yendi, where he met the chief.
Nana Anyinam then returned to Mampong Akrofose, and described his travels to Nana Akuamoa Panin, saying that he had found a suitable place, with many villages, for a settlement, but that he would need a force mobilised if he was to conquer the people there. Nana Akuamoa Panin provided him with five hundred guns and a large retinue. Nana Anyinam first returned to Botaase, where he met the old woman with her husband. He immediately beheaded Ampofo lest at future date he should claim the lands, and when the old woman and Kyeremutwa objected he beheaded them also. He claimed Botaase and became its first Chief. Akuamoa Panin made his son Oti Panin, Chief of Ejura. A new town was built near Botaase and Akuamoa Panin made his sons Agyei Dwera and Offra Mensa Krontihene and Akwamuhene respectively. Nana Akuamoa went to the war with the Akyems when Osei Tutu was slain. Although wounded, he brought the Ashanti army back from the campaign and received the title Odi Nwisiaahene ‘the king of the orphans’. He recovered to fight the Akyems again when the Akyem chief Fosu Apenten was slain. Nana Akuamoa died and was buried at Mampong Akrofoso, where his bamu “mausoleum” stands.
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Asare, Desmond. “Evolution of “Traditional Funeral” Songs among the Inhabitants of Asante Mampong.” (MPhil Thesis, Kwame Nkrumah University of Ghana, 2017).
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Rattray, Robert Sutherland. Ashanti Law and Constitution. (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1929).
Wilks, Ivor. “A Note on the Traditional History of Mampong.” Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana 4, no. 2 (1960): 26-29.